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Author Topic: NGD: Gibson Les Paul  (Read 271 times)

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Zilthy

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NGD: Gibson Les Paul
« on: Time Format »

Technically, it's really not 'NGD' since I have had it for almost a year now, but it has become my main, and I rarely pick up any of my other guitars.  Which surprises me when I look back.

I absolutely hated Les Pauls for years.  I did not like the look, I hated the feel of the necks, no whammy bar, and it seemed like there was this smugness about them.  Kind of like never wanting to park next to a Prius, that smug just might rub off on your car.   I was fully Superstrat or bust for decades.

I started getting over the whole shape thing about 10 years ago when I did a small bit of touring, and did not want to carry my 'Zilth' around, it was a one of a kind, expensive, and *really* heavy to carry in the case (non standard shape, so case was big and heavy).  So I picked up a cheap used Daisy Rock (LP shaped), threw a couple of decent pickups in, and used that for awhile.  Not only did I come to appreciate the single cut, I really decided I actually preferred the shorter scale length.  And also the lack of a Floyd Rose.  Don't get me wrong, I love a Floyd, until I want to retune or change strings.   Honestly, re-stringing a Floyd does not bother me much, but trying to change tunings on a floating?  Nope.  Just, nope.

But over these years, the LP grew on me, and it was time.  I really did look at PRS single cuts and ESP, but I knew, only a real, Gibson LP would do it for me, and anything else would still leave me 'wanting' for some dumb reason or another.

It was time, and I started researching.  And discovered another annoying thing about Les Pauls.  There's a Standard.  There's a Classic.  There's a Traditional.  There's a modern.  Sure, a lot of companies have many variations of the same name, but on LPs.... those variations seem to flip around from year to year, and worse, Gibson did get a reputation for varying quality during some years.  At this point, I decided I really did not know enough about the LP line and was not confident enough to try and buy used - and used pricing was so closed to new (and even above new!!!) that I thought I would just take a day and go try some out.  There were 4 Guitar Centers in my area, two with pretty large inventories.

I got to the first store early.  It was the start of COVID and they were letting a limited number of people in, and I did not want to stand outside waiting.   I do feel a bit bad, since I am fairly sure I kept a couple of people waiting, but I was buying a $2k plus guitar, so I wanted to try them out and be sure.  And try them out I did.

It was really kind of neat, since limited number of people, I pretty much had a person working with me just by myself, picking out LPs off the wall for me to try, and a couple of stands holding the ones I wanted to try again.  He was a little perplexed at first that I did not want to plug any in. To me, a guitar is going to feel right (and sound right) or not.  An amp isn't going to fix it, and honestly, a Katana 50 isn't going to be anywhere near the Synergy/Soldano I run.  If it feels good and sounds good unplugged, it's going to be great through an amp.

Anyway, I went through a bunch of Les Pauls, and kept coming back to this one.  It just plain felt *right*.   I knew it was the one after playing my first chord on it, but, I did have to try some others.  This was the one though, that I took home.

Trad Pro V.  An interesting model made for Guitar Center/Musicians friend.  Not as a cheaper 'knockoff' but, taking aspects of other models, and putting them together in one guitar.  Even though the name is 'Traditional' (Trad) it has aspects from the Standard and Modern.   Asymmetrical neck (had never tried that before, and absolutely love it).  Compound radius. Some weight relief (so it's a bit under 9lbs).  The HP (high performance) so can choose not only the standard LP controls, but also with push / pull pots coil tap, coil split, in phase, out of phase, inner coils, outer coils and more.  And the best part for me was a satin finish.  I like that a lot better than the feel of nitro or poly.

This quickly became my new main, the one I pick up 90% of the time if not a bit more.  I did make some changes to it, mostly cosmetic and reversible other than one change.  Things like:  swapping out the black plastics to creme (pick guard, pickup rings, poker chip), knobs from the top hat to speed knobs.  I kept the original pickups, but swapped the alnico V magnets to alnico II.  The biggest and irreversible change was having it re-fretted.  The original frets were really good, and the fret job was also good, I just like taller/bigger frets and had it re-fretted with 6100 stainless steel frets and a bone nut since I needed a new nut with the taller frets.

Nearly a year later, still loving this guitar, and the one that has been in most of my videos and recordings over the last year.  It plays and sounds so great!

« Last Edit: Time Format by Zilthy »
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rnolan

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Re: NGD: Gibson Les Paul
« Reply #1 on: Time Format »

Hey Zilthy, nice guitar  :thumb-up:   It's good you found one that floats your boat.
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Dante

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Re: NGD: Gibson Les Paul
« Reply #2 on: Time Format »

That is a fun story. I did that same thing when I decided to finally get a LP. I spent hours in the 'vintage' room plugging in different guitars. I ran all of them into a Marshall with absolutely no gain...clean. The kid working at GC was watching me set up the knobs and said 'that's gonna be way too clean' And I told him that's the idea.

Anyway, I found a '76 LP that played better than almost everything there. The Fender Coronado action was even lower and the price was cheaper, but I already had 4 hollow bodies and I was there for a LP. I didn't buy it, but it was heavy, like 10 lbs. I ended up grabbing an Ibanez PF160 in pearl white  from a friend. It weighed 11 lbs! The action was super low, the pickups were dreamy. Notice I'm speaking in past tense? I hated the single cutaway & traded the guitar for a Super strat, lol.

You have a very nice guitar there, it sure feels great when you keep on reaching for a particular guitar. You will probably have a friend for life there.  :banana-rock:
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Harley Hexxe

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Re: NGD: Gibson Les Paul
« Reply #3 on: Time Format »

Hey Zilthy,

         An interesting story to be sure, and I'm glad to hear it turned out the way you like it. :thumb-up:

         I'm curious now since I must have missed it if you posted it before, but what is the 'Zilth'? A custom made super strat?

Harley 8)
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I used to be ambivalent. Now, I'm just not sure...

Zilthy

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Re: NGD: Gibson Les Paul
« Reply #4 on: Time Format »

         I'm curious now since I must have missed it if you posted it before, but what is the 'Zilth'? A custom made super strat?

It was based off a SuperStrat, but the shape is definitely *not* a Strat at all.
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Harley Hexxe

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Re: NGD: Gibson Les Paul
« Reply #5 on: Time Format »

Hey Zilthy,

          No, that's definitely not a Strat style guitar!  That looks like it was inspired by a Warlock and a Mockingbird sort of.

          One-piece body, pretty solid.  I've never seen one like that before, wicked >:D

Harley 8)
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I used to be ambivalent. Now, I'm just not sure...

Zilthy

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Re: NGD: Gibson Les Paul
« Reply #6 on: Time Format »

          No, that's definitely not a Strat style guitar!  That looks like it was inspired by a Warlock and a Mockingbird sort of.

          One-piece body, pretty solid.  I've never seen one like that before, wicked >:D

The shape was inspired by an urban fantasy book I read, and the neck shape, pickups and controls by a Nuno N4 I had (and I guess another guitar I regret letting go of).   Not a one piece body though, you can see the line, but it still looks good.  And despite the odd shape, it's *amazingly* ergonomic.   I wish my friend who built it was still around, I would have another made to some slightly different specs.

This one 'The Zilth' has just a lovely feel and sound, and every guitar I have tried since has to measure up to it, and so far for me, the Les Paul has been the first.  Don't get me wrong, I really like a couple of the others I have picked up over the years, but not enough to want to pick up over the Zilth so I can retire it.  In a way, it's kind of odd since the LP is quite different, no whammy, and even though different neck shape, has a familiar friendly feel to me that just beckons to be picked up.

I played the Zilth for a long time, I think every ADA Jam I played was on that guitar too, and it was my 'only' guitar for a long time.   I think that is part of what is going on now, trying to get back to that simpler time, one guitar, one amp, although there are a couple of guitars I will never part with now due to nostalgia even if I don't play them much.  But I am letting go of the ones that I don't give attention to.

But I still do pick up the Zilth now and then, and it is still a joy to play. :D

« Last Edit: Time Format by Zilthy »
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